Landing on a Hundred – Cody ChesnuTT (self-released)

I dare you to find a more enlightening, uplifting, and enjoyable socially critical album released in the last 5 years. There’s and old school R&B vibe to many of the songs but it only adds to the genius of Cody Chesnutt, as he’s been crafting this album for a numbers of years.  This is well-mastered, orchestra-accompanied R&B.

You Knew – Mother Falcon (Creme Fraiche)

Mother Falcon is an 18-piece orchestral indie rock band, complete with horns and strings. The sound is oftentimes slow and melodious, always epic. Both male and female vocalists are ok, and original sound and musical complexity make up for lack of stronger vocals. Good stuff for indie shows that want something a little different; I bet they would be a blast to see live!

K. Koschewa, 8/24/13

Pink Balloon – Diamond Carter (Tyler Tuohy)

Diamond Carter is a local rock artist originally from Southern California.  Inspired by sixties bands like the Grateful Dead, the music could be appropriately described as groovy, funky, and a perfect summer soundtrack.

L. Rahner, 4/13/13

Cayucas – Bigfoot (Secretly Canadian)

Upbeat/catchy indie pop! If you like bands like Vampire Weekend and The Drums (and who doesn’t?) this CD will be right up your alley. Running through the album is a relaxed, laid back vibe perfect for a lazy summer. I particularly recommend the first four tracks. “Cayucos” makes a jolly addition to any surf rock playlist, while “Will the Thrill” and “A Summer Thing” are more for relaxing on the beach. “A Summer Thing” might be my favorite track here: it employs exotic instrumentation and group vocal flourishes akin to Beirut to tell a compelling story about trying to hold on to a summer fling. Overall, Cayucas packs a bunch of sunshine and positivity into just 30 minutes, and I could really see them catching on. Highly recommended for rotation. – Zach Shealy, 3/29/2013

Regions of Light and Sound of God- Jim James (ATO Records)

Brilliant. Jim James, leader of My Morning Jacket, nails is on this, not his first, solo release. Imaginative syncopation behind his nuanced but powerful vocals drive each song to make an impression from first listen. “State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U)” is simply beautiful, simple but satisfying  There is a distinct element (apart from the stellar writing and production) in each song that separates it from typical indie fodder, such as the gradual vocal corruption in “State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U)” , the odd swing melody that phases out “Know Til Now”, or the guitar scrapes and stabs near the end of “Dear One”. I love this album to bits already, and recommend it.

-Will Doran

Delta Spirit–Delta Spirit (Concord Records)

Delta Spirit is a straightforward rock ballad type of band. They craft guitar driven epics with soaring vocals and pounding drums, but the album’s strong first few songs are followed by average sounding reproduction of the same idea. “Empty House”, “Tear It Up”, and “California” will grab your attention but the rest is utterly forgettable, save for “Yamaha” is a nice somber close. -Judson Lancina, 2012

Shapeshifter’s Masquerade – Black Market Research (Eurydice)

This is the is local mainstay’s debut album, filled with moody arena rock anthems that wouldn’t have been out of place on alternative rock radio last decade (with shades of Incubus and Dashboard Confessional). It sounds remarkable for a small band.  These guitars are massive and the songs sound ready for arenas already.  On top of that, they’re a friend of the station (they thank us in the liner notes of this album).  It’s too bad, because I’m not into this music.  It’s a genre I don’t really care to listen to on my own because I just don’t feel any energy here (despite the proud display of hearts on sleeves).  However, these guys play this card as well as anyone else.  Those who do like this kind of alt-rock may find a new favorite band here.

Nick Kline, 2/19/13